A study released today from the Yale Food Policy & Obesity Center says that fast food chains are working harder to advertise to children. Meanwhile, the food continues to pack the same unhealthy fats, sugars, salt and processed empty calories as always.
The Yale researchers looked at 12 popular fast food chains — focusing specifically on “kids meals.” They found that of 3,000 options labeled for kids, only 12 met the nutritional guidelines for preschool children.
But even though they’re little kiddie diabetes-makers, the push to advertise fast food heavily to kids goes on – the average preschooler sees 21 percent more ads for fast food than they did in 2003. African American kids see 50 percent more.
And according to the study, little kids are jonesing big time for the meals — parents said 40 percent of their preschoolers ask to go to a fast food restaurant on a weekly basis. 84 percent of parents say they’ve taken their kid to a fast food restaurant in the last week.
Here is what the study found to be the worst and best meals marketed to kids:
Worst kids meal #1: Dairy Queen’s cheeseburger, french fries, a sugar sweetened soft drink and chocolate bar, which totaled 973 calories.
Worst kid’s meal #2: KFC’s popcorn chicken kids meal, with a biscuit, soda and a side of string cheese, which totaled 840 calories.
Best kid’s meal: Subway’s “Veggie Delite” with a side of apple slices and 100-percent juice
Of course little kids crave happy meals if they’ve experienced the fatty goodness before. Fast food is made to trick our cave-man brains into thinking we’ve just struck gold with a high-calorie nutrient rich meal. Sugar and fat send signals to our brains that it’s a good idea to binge — who knows when you might find such high-fat luck again (in this case apparently the answer is next week, at the latest).
Here’s a link to the nutritional breakdown for kids meals at fast food chains.
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